Battery-powered vibrators have smaller, lighter motors designed to operate on the relatively low current provided by the battery cells. For that reason, they create less powerful vibrations and may have shorter life spans. Battery-powered vibrators are usually designed so that the entire device vibrates, although the location of the motor in the housing may determine where the most intense vibrations emanate from.
Electrical (plug-in) vibrators, such as the
Hitachi Magic Wand, operate with a standard 120V wall current, and have heavier duty motors. They weigh more, but are also less prone to break down, and produce much stronger and consistent vibrations. Depending on the model, they may be designed so that an
attachment or head is the primary locus of vibration.
Coil vibrators, such as the Wahl ProSeries massagers, use spinning electromagnetic coils rather than a motor to produce movement. This makes them very quiet compared to motor-driven vibrators. They tend to produce more localized and "finer" vibrations than their motorized cousins.